I've been picking at my skin for as long as I can remember. I don't know when it started, or what the catalyst was, although I suspect a traumatic breakdown of a significant relationship.
Also as long as I can remember, I've struggled with feeling unworthy, undeserving. That, I'm sure, was embedded when I was given up for adoption and living in foster care for the first year of my life. I was adopted into a loving-ish family, which in time, suffered the loss of a child. The family broke down as a unit, each burying our grief in silence. I have a feeling that's when the picking may have started.
One morning this week, at the age of 50, an astonishing thought occurred to me. I pick in areas that aren't likely to be visible to the public eye, although sometimes my neck and upper arms get the best of me. I pick until the pain is almost unbearable. The skin will always be deeply scarred, which keeps me from pursing any type of relationship where I'd have to reveal myself. On the outside, I'm a gregarious, fun-loving attractive person. Inside, I'm terrified, shamed and somewhat lonely. What occurred to me is this:
Picking, while it serves some weird need to "feel"...also serves to confirm that I'm undeserving. I feel a sense of relief when I'm bloodied and aching, but in the morning, my body hurts so much and looks so awful, that it just reminds me how ashamed I am of myself and this habit. It reminds me that I'm "unwanted", "unlovable". Intellectually, I know these things aren't true. Emotionally...that's a whole different story.
I'm not there yet, but getting closer to asking for help. I have an appt with my family doctor tmrw to discuss my increasing anxiety. I'm already treated with Effexor for depression, however, I've been having a racing heartbeat, the inability to settle, feeling incredibly worried and having horrendous realistic nightmares.
Things are escalating. It's starting to come together...my understanding of the "why" behind how my psyche works. Now to step outside myself and find the help I DESERVE!
Thanks for letting me vent. I've never had this kind of conversation out loud.
Sending love and caring to each of you. I understand you!